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Scottish Amateur Championship:
Hume proves quality

By Peter Donald  Electronic Telegraph

BARRY HUME could be said to have come of age in winning the Scottish Amateur Championship at Downfield. He proved he now has the temperament to go with the outstanding talent.

That talent was demonstrated when, as a 17-year-old, he romped to a 13-stroke victory in the Scottish Boys Stroke play championship at Nairn Dunbar. And the temperament, which had been a little suspect, was shown to be rock solid throughout a strenuous week of competition over the Dundee's testing Downfield course.

The culmination came with a five and four win over Scotland's captain, Craig Watson, the 1997 Amateur Champion, in the 36-hole final. It was a result which Watson said was all Hume needed to move onto the next level in his golfing career.

"He will maybe now be picked for the home internationals," said Watson. After that he is likely to try the European Tour qualifying school later in the year.

Before that of course Hume is in line for an invitation to the Scottish PGA Championship at Gleneagles at the end of this month, when he can test himself alongside some of the top professionals.

Hume has matured since being beaten last year in the semi-final of the Scottish by the eventual champion, Steven O'Hara, and he was a key member of Scotland's European Championship winning team in Sweden last month.

He said: "I learned a lot from playing against Luke Donald in Sweden. I probably learned more in 18 holes from him than in 18 months by myself."

Downfield is reckoned to be one of the best and toughest courses in the country, yet Hume was 40-under-par for the 139 holes which he played to win the title. It was the first time either player had won through to the last stage. Watson has been once a quarter-finalists and once into the semis. He had mixed feelings about his defeat.

"Naturally I am disappointed to have lost. At the same time I am delighted for Barry. He is a great player already and has the potential to achieve even greater things."

It was fitting that the two Walker Cup reserves should meet in the final, although the odds were slightly on 19-year-old Hume to beat 35-year-old Watson. It was a question of whether the older player's experience could counter the youthful exuberance of the Haggs Castle youngster, who was often 40 yards ahead of his opponent off the tee.

Neither player produced his best golf in the final. Watson was behind after losing an early one-hole lead and after going in to lunch one down he gradually saw the match slip away.

Hume won four holes In a row from the 24th with birdies at the 25th and 26th to open up a five-hole lead as they turned for home for the last time.

The long 28th was halved in birdies and Watson sank an eight-foot birdie putt at the 31st but Hume then clinched matters with a birdie at the long 32nd.

Watson said: "I could not keep coming back from behind. I got away with it several times earlier in the tournament but it was asking too much to peg back a player of Barry's talent."

A Hamilton men's select beat the Scottish women's team 7-5 on Saturday in a match arranged by Scotland captain Elaine Farquharson-Black to help her squad get in shape for this month's women's home internationals in Ireland.

 

 
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